Purple hibiscus review new york times

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purple hibiscus review new york times

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. Theyre completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating.

As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.

Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.
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Published 07.01.2019

Purple Hibiscus

John Hartl reviews book Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi to see reviews, news and features in The New York Times Book Review.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A Nigerian Author Looking Unflinchingly at the Past

She is the rare novelist to become a public intellectual — as well as a defining voice on race and gender for the digital age. Credit Credit Carrie Mae Weems. Styled by Malina Joseph Gilchrist. By Dave Eggers. While introducing her, Dr. Then he ceded the floor to Adichie. She stood before the odd students, her fingertips on the podium, and swept her almond eyes around the room.

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Any child growing up in Africa is bound to know a thing or two about tyranny. The signs everywhere have been much the same: the coded conversation of parents, the friends in exile, in jail, the untouchable, preposterous, terrifying figures of absolute authority, the way the familiar and the frightening are woven together. To get to school, you may have to pass the corpse at the roadblock. It is all perfectly normal. Purple Hibiscus is about this weird normality, about the way tyranny insists that everyone dream the national nightmare, and it works by playing off the innocence of childhood against the brutal inanities of strong men in a state gone rotten.

Perhaps the most unexpected fashion icon of the year has just added another glossy credit to her name. Though her feminism may seem at odds with this embrace of the fashion world, Ms. Adichie has argued, most recently in a letter she posted to her Facebook page about raising a daughter, that diminishing things that are considered feminine, such as makeup and fashion, is part of a culture of sexism. As to why, consider the following. The conversation has been edited and condensed. How have your feelings on makeup evolved?

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